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Contactless transactions surge in cash loving Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Contactless transactions surge in cash loving Germany, Austria and Switzerland

More than three quarters of cashless transactions in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are now contactless, a remarkable turnaround from pre-pandemic figures of just 40%.

The Dach region, until recently heavily reliant on cash and invoicing, has experienced a dramatic transformation in contactless adoption over the last two years.

In June 2019, overall contactless adoption in the region was at just 40%, according to figures from payment processor Nets. The average contactless rate is now 77% in Germany, 82% in Austria and 80% in Switzerland.

"The pandemic has significantly accelerated a steadily growing trend in the Dach region,” says Robert Hoffmann, CEO of Nets Merchant Services. “It was inevitable that Germany, Austria and Switzerland would ultimately achieve high levels of contactless payment adoption, but without this catalyst, it would have taken years to reach where it is today."

Such high levels of overall contactless adoption put the Dach region on a level field with the Nordics, which, despite being a highly digitised society, has also seen significant growth in contactless payments over the past two years. In January 2020, average contactless adoption in the Nordics was at 56%. This grew to 75% by January 2021. Norway saw extreme growth, with only 35% contactless adoption in January 2020 rising to 79% in January 2021.

The trend upwards is only set to continue says Hoffman, with a new generation of SoftPOS transactions pushing contactless to the fore for merchants of all sizes.

"An increasingly customer-centric product and solution development process means payments will continue to become smarter and more digital," he says. "New SoftPOS solutions, which let consumers pay via mobile apps, will ultimately see magnetic stripes and EMV contact chips used only in exceptional cases for cashless payments at the checkout, or disappearing entirely. The future of payments is contactless."

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 September, 2021, 10:10Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Slightly odd story.  In cash-loving countries, the interesting metric would be how card payments as a proportion of all payments increased during the pandemic, rather than the number of card payments that happened to be contactless.